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Fact: Autumn Trees & Leaves

Autumn is a time of great beauty with trees turning from a bright green to shades of brown and red, but why do these leaves lose their green color and become the yellow, orange, and red we associate with Autumn?

Well when the air temperature drops the chlorophyll inside the leaves starts to break down and this reveals the other pigments that also exist naturally within the plant. Some example pigments include carotenoids and xanthophylls which usually give a yellow and or orange color to the leaves.

At the same time as the chlorophyll breaking down a layer between the leaf and the main stem called the abscission layer also starts to grow which cuts off the water supply to the leaf. This eventually causes the leaf to fall off but before that happens, the sugars within the leaf also break down into anthocyanin which can give leaves that dark red color. So there you go, if you ever wondered where those colors came from? Well now you know.

8 Comments

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 21st September 2008

    Thank you for this article. It made my homework on leaves a lot easier than some other sites i’ve been looking at. It is easy to understand and isn’t long which actualy is the best part. But you can totally understand it without reading like 10 pages.

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 22nd September 2008

    I love your website.
    Do you have a newsletter?

    Thank you
    Johanna
    South Africa

  • User Points: 315.1
    Posted on 22nd September 2008
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    We’re glad you liked that snippet of science knowledge :)

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 17th August 2009

    Thank you very much for posting this. :D

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 2nd October 2009

    These are great concise facts.

    I have noticed however, that when we have a wet summer that the colors are not a vibrant that fall.

    It seems that the drier the summer season is the brighter and longer the colors last.

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 20th October 2009

    Thank you for writing this, it really helps with my project more than the other sites!:):)

    thank you!
    Kai =Hither green primary school
    london

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 20th October 2009

    thank you Zoe Delphy:D

  • User Points: Not A Member
    Posted on 15th December 2011

    i did not understand but it helped a little so can you rite the fats of autumn becos there is less info abut autumn so plz help me ::)))))

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